Today is the Fourth of July, a day when our nation celebrates the Declaration of Independence from England that Thomas Jefferson and others approved in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776. Here at the 44th annual Smithsonian Folklife festival, we will have a full day of programming devoted to Smithsonian Inside Out, Mexico, and Asian Pacific Americans: Local Lives, Global Ties, followed by the annual fireworks display this evening. The weather looks good outside, and it should be yet another day to bring the whole family for a day of learning and fun on the National Mall. Check out http://www.festival.si.edu/blog/ for schedules and travel information.
The Asian Pacific Americans program will celebrate the contributions to freedom made over the centuries by our uniformed men and women, with three Talkstory panels focusing on issues related to veterans. At the same time, we will focus on Sen. Spark Matsunaga of Hawai’i, an Asian Pacific American soldier who decided that peace, not perpetual war, should be our ultimate goal. Richard Solomon, president of the United States Institute of Peace, and other distinguished guests will join us on panels at 1:15 and 2:45 p.m., as we remember how the efforts of one APA legislator helped to galvanize federal support for international conflict resolution by diplomacy, not bloodshed.
Phil Tajitsu Nash
Curator, Asian Pacific Americans program